Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

Are you trying to sleep at night and are being woken up to the sound of a running toilet? Oh boy! Your toilet keeps running; what a nuisance that can be!

Most people don’t think much about the operation of their toilet – it just works. But, like most things, it does have parts that will eventually wear out. This continuous water running long after the toilet has finished flushing is often because of a leak.

But before we guide you through the process of diagnosing and fixing, you should understand the parts of the toilet that can be involved when your toilet keeps running.

  • Toilet Valve – Element responsible for refilling the tank after flushing.
  • Toilet Flapper – Also known as a flapper valve, this element lifts and triggers the water flush. It is located at the bottom of the tank.
  • Toilet Float – Often referred to as the ballcock or float valve. It is a buoyancy device that is typically part of the flush valve. It regulates the amount of water in the tank.
  • Tank Lever – Otherwise called a lift rod. This lever is connected to the handle. It lifts the rubber flapper, which triggers the toilet to flush.

When a toilet keeps running, and a leak causes it, it could either be a worn-out toilet flapper or a toilet fill valve that is not working correctly. Both are relatively easy to fix on your own.

Worn Out Toilet Flapper

Toilet Running Intermittently

If the water is running intermittently and not flowing to the overflow tube, it is most like the toilet flapper that needs to be replaced.

If you take the lid off of the toilet tank, look inside, and you can see a rubber or plastic flap at the bottom connected to a chain that attaches to the flush handle. The operation of a toilet is straightforward.

When you depress the handle, the chain pulls up the flapper, allowing water from the tank to pour into the bowl, flushing away whatever is in there.

Then the flapper drops back down, covering the hole, and the water fills back up. When the water fills to a certain point, the float at the top causes the water to stop flowing.

The problem is that the flapper wears out and doesn’t seal the hole properly, allowing water to trickle out slowly. Replacing the flapper is easy. Visit any hardware store and ask for a flapper kit. You don’t want to buy the whole flush assembly unless you have more time and are reasonably handy with plumbing.

See instructions on how to install the flapper below.

  • First, shut off the water to the toilet by turning the valve underneath on the wall’s pipe.
  • Once that is done, flush the toilet to remove the water from the tank. You may need to flush it again and hold the flapper open to get most of the water out, then use a sponge to soak up the rest.
  • Now put your hand into the tank and remove the flapper gently. Pull it off the two studs on both sides of the valve.
  • Remove the chain from the flush handle lever.
  • Install the new flapper. Thread the holes on each side over the two studs.
  • Gently attach the chain to the flush handle lever. Make sure you do not pull the flapper open.
  • Once done, before replacing the lid, turn the water back on and test the assembly. Make sure the flapper seats correctly and that the right amount of water refills the tank.
  • You may need to adjust the length of the chain to get the proper results.
  • Once you are satisfied that all is working, put the lid back on, and you are ready for, well, business.

Faulty Toilet Fill Valve

Toilet Running Continuously

If the water is continuously running into the tank and the overflow tube, the problem is usually with the toilet valve. After every flush, the fill valve fills the tank. This valve most often just needs to be adjusted.

  • Start diagnosing by lifting the float cup to see if the water stops. If it does, then an adjustment is needed.
  • Adjust the spine with a screwdriver. The spine runs along with the side fill valve.
  • Turn the spine clockwise. This will lower the float cup and the water level, so it stays below the overflow tube.
  • Fill valve assembly includes an angle adaptor and a metal clip. This kit prevents the refill tube from going below the waterline. If this tube pushes down into the overflow tube, the tube will continuously siphon water from the tank.
  • Adjust the refill tube, so it is attached to the angle adaptor clip. It must sit above the overflow tube and not inside the tube.

After you have adjusted the fill valve and the toilet is still running, the entire valve assembly will need to be replaced. You may now need to call a plumber.

Toilet Keeps Running? Need Help?

If you’re still experiencing problems, your toilet keeps running, and you cannot seem to fix it, contact the professional plumbers at All A’s Plumbing. We can be out to solve your problem quickly. We do offer 24-hour emergency service as well.

Get back to bed as you are used to. Sleep tight, and do not let the annoying sound of a running toilet keep you up anymore.